Political weapon knows no boundaries
It's called gerrymandering.
Abraham Lincoln was viewed in many accounts atthe time as winner of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
And his fellow Republican candidates for the state legislative seats controlling appointment of a senator from Illinois got the most popular votes. But gerrymandering enabled election of more Democrats and sent Stephen Douglas to the Senate. "Team of Rivals," the book on which the "Lincoln" film is based, cites a Lincoln supporter's complaint that "by the gerrymandering of the state seven hundred Democratic
votes were equal to one thousand Republican votes."
While districts now must be closer in population size and often are more compact, gerrymandering lives, perfected by computer technology and scientific gathering of data on voter tendencies.
The Chicago Tribune recently editorialized against "map mischief" in Illinois,
where Democrats controlled the state legislature for redistricting after the 2010 Census and drew boundaries designed to elect 12 Democrats and six Republicans. On Nov. 6, that's what happened.
The editorial also deplored gerrymandering elsewhere, such as in Ohio, where President Barack Obama and a Democratic candidate for the Senate
won, but Republican gerrymandering for congressional districts resulted in electing 12 Republicans and only four Democrats to the House.
In Indiana, where Democrat Joe Donnelly won handily in the Senate race(thanks in part to his opponent)
and the race for governor was the closest since 1960, Republicans won seven of the nine House races.Helping the GOP was Republican-controlled redistricting placing as many Democratic voters as possible in two districts -- 1st, with Lake County, and 7th, with Indianapolis, that were written off for sure
Democratic wins.Nationwide, there was more Republican than Democratic gerrymandering.
That's because of big Republican wins in many states in 2010, giving control of more state legislatures to the GOP for the once-in-a-decade redistricting process in 2011.
Although Democrats running in House races nationwide out polled Republicans by more than a half million votes, Republicans,though losing a few seats, retained firm control of the House.
Just think of the difference in negotiations on avoiding the fiscal cliff if getting more than a half million more votes had meant Democratic control of the House. Democrats think the GOP gerrymandering was a shame. Republicans think it was just in time and only a payback for some past Democratic gerrymandering.
Most Democrats and Republicans agree, however,
in deploring Washington's contentious stalemate that blocks agreement on almost